Change on the way for rugby's TMO

by Sam Phillips

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper believes there is too much reliance on the TMO in the current refereeing ranks.

SANZAAR last week signalled their intention to change current protocol regarding the TMO when CEO Andy Marinos admitted the current system is "clearly not working" and Gosper echoed those views at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

"There is probably too much reliance at the moment on the TMO," he said.

"The feeling in the room is that we would like referees, themselves, to take a bit more control.

"That’s something that we are going to work through.

"That’s the philosophy of it and now we have to work on the execution."

Gosper said both northern and southern hemisphere powerbrokers agreed the current system must change for the good of the game, with coaches, players and fans around the world left seething with the standard of officiating this season.

"We’ve had some good discussion and I think there is a lot of consensus there with the TMO," he said.

"There are some issues with it and we are going work our way through that and make it better.

"We’re going to improve things in the TMO area and we are working together - north and south - to do that."

How long it takes to see the projected changes in action remains to be seen but Gosper hinted at a November introduction.

"These are mainly protocol and we think we have the ability to move quickly, maybe have a different protocol ready to test in November, potentially," he said.

"We have to be able to move quite quickly to get to a better place.

"I just can’t define what that better place is right now because a lot of minds will get involved in that process.

"The goal is to move quickly on all of these things, as we can."

Gosper also denied the intervention was triggered by any particular howler in either the June Test window or Super Rugby fixtures.

"There is different protocol in Tests, northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere," he said.

"We’re learning from those Tests and I think it’s time (for change).

"We evaluate everything in each window - protocols, judicial, injury - and that’s part of the process.

"It wasn’t these particular June Tests - although there were some particularly strong views coming out of the southern hemisphere in particular."